Recently, a tree in the Municipal Park close to our home was cut down. A view of the cross-section reveals its growth rings.
According to my online research: “Visible rings result from the change in growth speed through the seasons of the year; thus, critical for the title method, one ring generally marks the passage of one year in the life of the tree.”
In pioneer days, a person my age — I’m swiftly approaching 58 rings — would be considered elderly. Today, however, even with silver hair and deeply etched laugh lines, that’s mere change.
By intent, many of us have cultivated a combination of habits that contribute to our number of growth rings. These might include eating certain foods, steering clear of certain things, exercise, taking vitamins and/or minerals, etc.
Even though you’ve cultivated a bevy of healthy habits, what single one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest toward your quality longevity?
Last week as I was heading out our driveway I enjoyed watching a deer across the street. Not in the least bit afraid of foot or vehicle traffic, it continued meandering on its merry way.
During our son’s recent visit, he had the opportunity for an even closer encounter with wildlife:
Bogus Basin is a mountainous area near Boise, Idaho particularly enjoyed for its recreational snow offerings, so in June it’s almost deserted. The heat that week — even at 5,000 feet — was triple-digit intense. During our hike we found a small bird exhausted from trying to flap its way out of a skylight in a shuttle stop. He didn’t realize it was plexiglass, and was too disoriented to simply come down out of the rafters and fly away. That’s when our son got involved…
Climbing up inside the shuttle stop, he gently got the bird in his hand and climbed back down. Staying in the shade, our son used Willa’s water bowl to bathe the little fellow with cool water and give him a drink.
We didn’t think it was ever going to leave him. Once it started singing — and we knew he was going to be okay — our son placed the little fellow on a low-hanging branch and from there we watched him take off. A very cool experience for all of us.
What was your last up-close-and-personal experience with nature?
A robin feathering her nest has very little time to rest while gathering her bits of twine and twig…
A few weeks ago when the branches were still bare, we saw the makings of an impressive nest in our back yard. Having recently trimmed Willa’s coat, it’s clear that birds find her wiry hair to be prime building material!
It might be a person, a feeling, a specific structure, or a tangible item—what makes a house a home has as many different answers as there are people. Whether you’re:
Our home is located in what had been a grove of oak trees in days gone by. Most of the homes in our neighborhood have at least one huge tree in the front or back yard. Every fall we can count on being entertained by the antics of squirrels as they lay in stores for the winter. What they squirrel away is absolutely necessary for their survival.
Human beings are different. The National Association of Professional Organizers says that as a society we’ve acquired so much “stuff” over the last three decades that the self-storage industry is the fastest growing new industry in the United States.
Trees are high on the list of my favorite living creatures. Each day as I traverse back and forth to HolEssence—on bike, on foot, in car—I pass ginormous trees that have lived in this area for hundreds of years. Many of them are in the front yards of what had been the homes of railroad barons in days gone by.
In August we experienced several storms that blew through, stripping off roofs and leveling most everything in its path. Pictured below is a tree I photographed after the storm. It wasn’t yanked up by its roots, rather, it snapped—like a twig—in the gale force winds.
From the outside, the tree had appeared to be healthy. But I suspect it had been ill, as most trees—like people—have an inherent resilience that allows us to recover from things that push the envelope past the cutting edge, to the bleeding edge.
Vastly different than afterglow…we’re currently in the aftermath—wake—of yesterday’s storm that hit the greater Chicagoland area with over 200,000 people still without power this morning, ourselves included.
We live in an older neighborhood in Crystal Lake, Illinois laden with full grown oak, hickory, and maple trees. On our street alone, many of these stately giants were snapped like match sticks, or yanked up by 75 mile an hour winds and slammed across people’s homes, garages, or cars. Except for debris in our driveway and yard, we were left unscathed.
Debris from storm 07-11-2011
In making our way to our business—HolEssence—to assess any potential damage, we saw that the destruction was widespread, with emergency vehicles and Commonwealth Edison trucks everywhere due to trees and power lines laying across main and side roads.
After the storm roared through, we spent the rest of the afternoon clearing dangling limbs from trees and debris from our yard and driveway. The 91 degree heat and humidity made it somewhat of an unpleasant chore with no fans or air conditioning to take a break in.
Reading by Coleman Lantern 07-11-2011
Making lemonade out of lemons, we enjoyed an evening of reading by Colman camp lantern. Without power, I’m a day behind in catching up with emails and blogs. I intend to start today at HolEssence between clients because we have power here.
Dandelions are popping up all over our yard right now. They’re hearty enough to withstand almost anything (I suspect they’d even survive ravages of a nuclear kind), and their seed dispersal method is remarkable!
Starting out as cheerful yellow flowers…
Starting out as cheerful yellow flowers
… dandelions quickly mature and turn into puff balls. The white fuzz is attached to seeds that act as parachutes.
Dandelions quickly mature and turn into puff balls
Riding on the wind, platoons of tiny paratroopers are carried away for one purpose only—a single-minded, tactical mission—to multiply.
Having one purpose only — to multiply
In researching the etymology for the word “dandelion,” I expected to find the name came from the flower’s similar appearance to that of the regal, golden mane of lions. Not so.
The English name dandelion is a corruption of the French dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth—referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.
Did you know that all parts of a pesticide-free dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses? As a matter of fact, they’ve long been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and for making dandelion wine.
Then, of course, there’s the Dandelion Doo sported by the one and only Alexis de la Luna (lovingly referred to as Lexi) in the Buchanan household.
You remember these lyrics from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel”…
June is bustin’ out all over All over the meadow and the hill! Buds’re bustin’ outa bushes…
Buds are Bustin' Outa Bushes by Laurie Buchanan
Well that’s precisely what’s happening at our home. Our climbing roses started out with zillions of buds. Then like ruffled petticoats, in a matter days, hints of pink started winking through.
Like ruffled petticoats, hints of pink started winking through by Laurie Buchanan
Finally, the bush exploded with fragrant, tea-sized roses.
Bursting with fragrant tea-sized roses by Laurie Buchanan
While taking these photographs we discovered that a pair of cardinals had set up home—with a cozy little nest—in this climbing rose bush.
A pair of cardinals have set up housekeeping by Laurie Buchanan
Shhhhhhhh, be really quiet and tiptoe forward a wee bit. Don’t be shy, just a little bit closer. There now, upon closer inspection—and taking great care not to disturb anything—look who’s there. Simply click on the photo to enlarge it – enjoy!
Look who's there by Laurie Buchanan
Note: directly through the exterior wall that the roses are climbing on, is our headboard. We can assure you that the babies (and we think there are three of them) have great lungs—chirp, Chirp, CHIRP! chirp, Chirp, CHIRP!